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Maudlin Of The Well - Bath CD (album) cover

BATH

Maudlin Of The Well

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.18 | 209 ratings

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Negoba
Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Dark, Moody Brother is the Better Catch

Maudlin of the Well's twin juggernaut of BATH and LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP are cut from the exact same cloth. It is almost as if the album had been recorded and then the entire project lost in a flood. Then the band attempted to reconstruct it from a dim memory. While both are basically the prototypes for avant-metal, LYBM is a bit more straightforward and memorable. BATH is a little more difficult to get into at first listen, but it's the one that you come back to again and again. It's the one that truly moves the soul.

A perfect example is the opener "Blue Ghost." Toby Driver's signature sound is exactly the same as found on the Red Album, but here he takes alot longer to develop and set the mood. The first time I heard it, it was too long. It's subtler, lulling you in, and when we get the monster hit of extreme metal of "They Aren't All Beautiful," the assault is more dramatic and you're left more bloody. The blast beats and blackish tremolo picking is covered with more layering, and the piece simply bests the more deathish turn on BM. There is also an echoey bridge that is beautiful and memorable all while the earth crumbles around it.

As amazingly daring as BODY MAP is, BATH takes bigger risks and reaps bigger rewards. In fact, I might argue that this is Driver at his absolute peak. Avant garde music treads a knife edge of pointless chaos and a tether of order. This is the point, for me, where Driver still teeters deliciously before falling off the edge with Kayo Dot. Though his current project has its moments, he's never struck the balance so effectively without his Maudlin bandmates. (Part the Second was much less risky but so beautiful that it reached masterpiece status on completely different grounds).

To be clear, BATH is not an easy listen. Dissonance, chaos, lyrical themes of death and astral projection, extended sections of water noises...not exactly Lady Gaga here. This is for music enthusiasts who enjoy delving into the far reaches. But if extreme metal AND avant-jazz have a place in your exploration, BATH may be a treasure for your ears.

Negoba | 5/5 |

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